Gambling on the Western Conference: A Free-For-All

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The Western Conference is absolutely nothing like the Eastern Conference when it comes to championship odds.

We have what I call a two-horse race in the East versus what I am going to call the six-plus team race in the West.

In the 15 previous seasons, only four teams (the Lakers, seven times; the Spurs, five times, the Mavericks, two times; the Thunder, once)  have won the Western Conference, which is a similar concept to what the Eastern Conference has gone through recently, as I outlined in this column laying out the loooong odds on anyone not from Miami or Indiana winning the East.

Abrams: Which NBA Players Will Be Traded? Odds Say …

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moneyintrashThe offshore sports book Bovada recently published odds on certain players to be traded at any moment this season, which has created a bit of a buzz in the NBA sports betting industry because of its intrigue.

Some offshore sports books have offered these type of proposition bets in previous years, but with the early intrigue and excitement of this upcoming season I believe the exploration of these particular players and their teams’ current situation is definitely of note.

As many of you know, sports books in Las Vegas are not allowed to offer these types of bets because they are not officially scored in the nightly boxscore, which is just one of the reasons why the offshore sports books offer such large intrigue to many bettors across the nation and the world.

Here is the list of players on which odds were offered before the season began Tuesday night:

GayPlayer: Rudy Gay

Position: SF

Team: Toronto Raptors

Odds: Yes (6/1) & No (1/10)

Gay has been a member of the Toronto Raptors for a little over 270 days since his trade from the Memphis Grizzlies, and Toronto has already had discussions about what it could potentially get for Gay in a deal this season. Gay’s odds are very interesting, but you would assume they are a little bit higher than most on this list because of two reasons. One would be Raptors new general manager Masai Ujiri, who is a deep thinker when it comes to rebuilding a team and will look up and down for a deal that may get his team closer to the top sooner rather than later – which does not necessarily mean a deal for Gay. Two would be the fact Gay is currently taking up $17.8 million on Toronto’s cap, and you would have to find a team on their way toward the top to take on that contract. I would say Dallas, Chicago or Cleveland could be destinations for Gay, but keeping money off the books that are not expiring contracts may be more valuable for these teams than acquiring a scoring wing.

lowryPlayer: Kyle Lowry

Position: PG

Team: Toronto Raptors

Odds: Yes (2/1) & No (1/3)

Different player, same team. The fact that another Raptor is on this list is just another reason why “NBA-heads” are pretty sure Ujiri is going to shake things up pretty soon in Toronto. If the Raptors do not start off on a good note, things may change pretty quickly. Lowry is a completely different animal than Gay for a multitude of reasons – one being Lowry’s price tag is about $11 million less than Gay’s and may be easier to trade across the league if injuries thin a team at point guard. Lowry may be intriguing to a few teams considering his contract is an expiring one, and a contender may be interested in renting his services to make a run. Here is a list of possible destinations, IMHO: Warriors, Heat (not really talented point guard, but a need), Pelicans, Spurs (probably a long shot) and Wizards.

boozerPlayer: Carlos Boozer

Position: PF

Team: Chicago Bulls

Odds: Yes (1.5/1) & No (1/2)

It seems like Boozer has been discussed in trade rumors for the past two to three seasons, even though he had only been signed as a free agent by Chicago in 2010. Boozer has two years left on his contract that pays him approximately $15.3 million per year, which is a tough contract to trade away unless you are adding assets or an incentive for another team. With $14.25 million left on Luol Deng’s expiring contract, I fully expect Deng to be a bigger asset for teams than Boozer will until next season, when his expiring deal will be an asset for contending teams a few months into the season. People have discussed such deals as Boozer for LaMarcus Aldridge or the possibility of a blockbuster trade of Boozer, Jimmy Butler and assets for Kevin Love. But if you ask me, it will be tough for the Bulls to deal Boozer this season.

(RELATED: AMNESTY PROVISION: WHO STILL HAS IT; WHO DOESN’T? A TEAM-BY-TEAM LOOK)

grangerPlayer: Danny Granger

Position: SF

Team: Indiana Pacers

Odds: Yes (1/2) & No (1.5/1)

Granger and the trade market go hand-in-hand. He played only five games in 2012-2013 and is expected to miss the first three to four weeks of this season. Trading Granger and getting some sort of equal value from another team would be tough for the Pacers. Indiana made the Eastern Conference finals last season basically without Granger doing anything, so they are definitely not going to rush him back, especially after adding depth in Luis Scola and Chris Copeland this offseason. Granger currently has one year at $14 million left on his expiring contract, which makes him a potential deal chip if he can ever string together 10-15 games of action to show other teams there is the possibility of playing time.

asikPlayer: Omer Asik

Position: C

Team: Houston Rockets

Odds: Yes (1/3) & No (2/1)

Many people believed the signing of Dwight Howard over the summer for the Houston Rockets meant the inevitable exit for Asik, who even thought so himself at first. When the signing went down, Asik went public, demanding a trade out of Houston because he did not want to play behind Howard on the roster. Two months later, Asik is still in Houston, the Rockets have two really good centers on their roster – and are playing them alongside each other. Asik has two years and $8.3 million per year on his contract, but the positive is the fact many teams across the league have a need for a productive center and a deal is a possibility if GM Daryl Morey and the Rockets ever wanted to pull the trigger. The 1/3 odds on Asik to be traded is more about the public perception than it is Houston’s point of view. From an outsider’s perspective, people are a bit shocked Houston has not yet pulled the trigger on a deal to send Asik somewhere for players and draft picks to strengthen other parts of their roster. But only time will tell what Houston wants to do.

Evan Abrams covers basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE FROM EVAN ABRAMS:

PROP BET LINES ON SCORING LEADER, REBOUNDING, MVP, MORE
NBA FUTURES ODDS: LAS VEGAS VS. OFFSHORE
TEAM BY TEAM OVER/UNDER ODDS FOR WIN TOTALS

 

NBA Proposition Bets: A Different Angle

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moneyintrashIn the past few weeks I have written columns on the NBA futures market (to win the championship) and over/unders on regular season win totals, which is always something that intrigues not only bettors, but fans, too, because it gives them a barometer for how their team may perform in the upcoming season.

The last item on the menu before the regular season starts next week is some of the more exotic proposition bets on the NBA betting menu which get some of the NBA “geeks” all giddy before they tip off the season.

To be clear, the sports books in Las Vegas really do not delve into proposition bets very much; they stick to the NBA futures market, regular season win totals and sometimes a prop here or there on the regular season MVP.

So many of the bets I am about to focus on are found offshore, and definitely make for some interesting discussion points.

Rookie Of The Year


Victor Oladipo 4/1
Trey Burke 5/1
Kelly Olynyk 5/1
Cody Zeller 7/1
Ben McLemore 7/1
C.J. McCollum 8/1
Michael Carter-Williams 8/1
Otto Porter 10/1
Anthony Bennett 14/1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 20/1
Shabazz Muhammad 20/1
Alex Len 25/1
Tim Hardaway Jr 28/1
Nerlens Noel 29/1
Shane Larkin 33/1
Sergay Karasev 33/1
Dennis Shroeder 33/1

Since 1985, when the New York Knicks drafted Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall, 13 overall No. 1 picks have won the Rookie Of The Year award.

A player drafted outside of the top 10 has not won the Rookie Of The Year award since 1987 when Mark Jackson won the award being drafted 18th overall. Granted, the first overall pick this year was a surprise to everyone involved, but having Anthony Bennett as 14/1 to win the award is a bit interesting.

I think the favorites to win the award are most likely Victor Oladipo and his Hoosier teammate Cody Zeller. The obvious sucker-bet in this group is Nerlens Noel, who might miss the entire season with an injury. The Rookie Of The Year award is really hit or miss on whether that player will become a star or prime time player in the league:

Since 2000, the winners have included Mike Miller, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Emeka Okafor, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.

Regular Season Scoring Leaders


Kevin Durant 1.2/1
Carmelo Anthony 3.15/1
LeBron James 3.5/1
Field (Any Other Player) 8/1
Kobe Bryant 8.25/1
Stephen Curry 14/1
Derrick Rose 15/1
James Harden 16/1
Kevin Love 25/1
Damian Lillard 35/1
Monta Ellis 40/1
Dwayne Wade 50/1
Dirk Nowitzki 50/1
Deron Williams 50/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 50/1
Brook Lopez 50/1
Blake Griffin 50/1
Dwight Howard 50/1
DeMar DeRozan 60/1
Paul Pierce 60/1

Since 2005, only five different players have won this title, which shows the situation the player is in is just as important as that player’s ability to score.

Kobe Bryant has won it twice, LeBron James once, Dwayne Wade once, Kevin Durant three times and most recently Carmelo Anthony.

This is not a recent trend, since 1994 only nine different players have won this award, so thinking a new player will be added to this list is usually not the smart way to bet. If you ask me, a player like Dwayne Wade has no chance to win this award, so you can take him off the list. I can even go so far to say LeBron and Kobe do not have a great chance based on a few different factors. Kobe’s health is a negative and so are LeBron’s assists.

The positive for Kobe is the fact that his teammates are going to look to him very often this year if and when he enters the lineup. The positive for LeBron is Wade’s health and the fact James will be needed to score more than ever this year.

With Russell Westbrook hurt, Kevin Durant and then Carmelo Anthony have to be the favorites this year with the dark horse being James Harden if you ask me.

NBA Regular Season MVP


LeBron James 1.4/1
Kevin Durant 3.5/1
Carmelo Anthony 8.5/1
Derrick Rose 9/1
Chris Paul 11/1
James Harden 16/1
Russell Westbrook 25/1
Kobe Bryant 25/1
Tony Parker 30/1
Dwight Howard 30/1
Kyrie Irving 30/1
Stephen Curry 30/1
Blake Griffin 30/1
Paul George 35/1
Tim Duncan 45/1
Kevin Love 45/1
John Wall 50/1
Deron Williams 55/1
Dirk Nowitzki 60/1
Rajon Rondo 65/1
Dwayne Wade 75/1
Ty Lawson 100/1
Andre Iguodala 100/1
Brandon Jennings 125/1
Kemba Walker 125/1
Monta Ellis 125/1
David Lee 125/1
Pau Gasol 125/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 125/1
Roy Hibbert 125/1
Anthony Davis 125/1
Josh Smith 125/1

The question here is pretty simple…can anyone win this award but LeBron James? James has won it four of the past five years, with Derrick Rose being the only player other than James to win the award since 2007 when Kobe Bryant won it.

Only four NBA players are listed below 10/1 to win this award, and it is that way for a reason, this is not baseball, a team must be very good for a player to win this award — and that is why the best players on the Knicks, Thunder, Heat and Bulls are on the top of this list. If you are looking for a dark horse to win the award, here are a few players I would possibly look at: Chris Paul, James Harden, Stephen Curry and a long-shot in Monta Ellis. (I’d drop a couple bucks on Kyrie at 30/1-CS)

Regular Season Assists Per Game


Chris Paul 1.5/1
Deron Williams 3/1
Rajon Rondo 3/1
Ricky Rubio 7.5/1
Derrick Rose 8.5/1
John Wall 9/1
Steve Nash 16/1
Jeff Teague 25/1
Tony Parker 25/1
Jose Calderon 30/1
Brandon Jennings 55/1

Like many of the other awards, since 1998, only five players have won this award: Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. I truly believe there is no dark horse for this award, I would be truly surprised if someone other than Rondo, Paul or Deron Williams won the award. I do not have long term faith in Rubio to win it, Rose and Wall will need to score too much and Nash simply does not have it to contend with his roster and age.

Regular Season Rebounds Per Game


Dwight Howard 1/1
Kevin Love 1.5/1
Field (Any Other Player) 6/1
Nikola Vucevic 9.5/1
Anderson Varejao 16/1
Tyson Chandler 18/1
Joakim Noah 20/1
Zach Randolph 20/1
DeMarcus Cousins 20/1
Anthony Davis 25/1
Omer Asik 30/1
Al Horford 30/1
Blake Griffin 35/1
Reggie Evans 35/1
Andrew Bynum 35/1
David Lee 40/1
Tim Duncan 55/1

Since 2003, three players have won this award: Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. Out of all the other awards, it is the first time one player is listed at even money to win — Dwight Howard to have the most rebounds. If you want to talk about a dark horse for the award, I would go with a few different players to take a chance on: Tyson Chandler and DeMarcus Cousins. Chandler I believe has a chance because Andrea Bargnani simply does not rebound and Chandler will be able to gobble up a ton this year and Cousins, if motivated in the right areas, could legitimately be a contender here, but those character concerns are what make him 20/1.

Team vs Team NBA Regular Season Wins

Here are a few examples of team vs. team regular season totals, compared to other teams’ win totals, wins for the higher echelon teams across the league:

Clippers (-105) -4.5 over Nets (-125)

Bulls (-115) -3 over Rockets (-115)

Bulls (+100) -3.5 over Thunder (-130)

Pacers (-115) -2 over Warriors (-115)

Heat (-115) -6 over Rockets (-115)

Heat (-115) -8.5 over Thunder (-115)

Lakers (+120) -9.5 over Celtics (-150)

Rockets (-115) -2 over Nets (-115)

Nets (-115) -2.5 over Warriors (-115)

A few props that stand out to me…the fact that the Lakers are 9.5 wins ahead of anyone is very surprising, but the Celtics are supposed to be in the bottom five teams in the league in wins this year and if Danny Ainge decides to deal Rondo, they could easily fall in the bottom three. The Lakers do not look much better themselves and could end up trading Pau Gasol at some point this year, which makes that wager a complete toss-up based on who blows it up first. I think the Bulls over the Thunder is a very sneaky wager based on the fact of how deep Chicago is and how thin Oklahoma City is this year, especially with the injury to Westbrook and the loss of Kevin Martin.

Evan Abrams writes about basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter @Betropolitan..

NBA Future Odds: Las Vegas vs Offshore

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The NBA futures market has opened up across many different sports books and shops, not only in Las Vegas but also across the offshore markets as well. In this column, I am going to list all of the different odds and current opportunities between these shops to see if there are any differences worth noting and where the biggest discrepancies lie.

Here are the two Las Vegas Sports Books that we will be comparing: The Las Vegas Hilton and William Hill; William Hill is the line originator for sports books such as Hooter’s, Ellis Island, The D Las Vegas, Terrible’s and Riviera.

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The End of the Movement: An Early Preview of the NBA Futures Market

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moneyThe dust has settled and the NBA offseason has officially hit its conclusion when it comes to the futures market.